Missing Mom Heidi Planck’s Case May Now Be LAPD Homicide Probe: Lawyer

The disappearance of a Los Angeles mom, who is at the center of a Wall Street scandal, was brought up in court by an SEC attorney

The case of missing Los Angeles mother Heidi Planck is now a likely homicide investigation by the LAPD, according to a prosecutor who is pursuing a case against the indicted owner of the company where she worked, court records now reveal.

The comment on the possible killing of the 39-year-old, who mysteriously vanished in October, came from Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer Nancy Brown in a court hearing for Jason Sugarman, a minority owner of the Los Angeles Football Club and the son-in-law of the Los Angeles Dodgers owner and Hollywood mogul, Peter Guber. Sugarman was charged in a June 26 SEC complaint in connection with an elaborate scheme he allegedly participated in with others to bilk the Wakpamni Lake Community Corp., a Native American tribal corporation, into issuing $60 million worth of bonds. 

Sugarman’s attorneys now argue that the government accepted “stolen property” when Planck’s ex-husband, Jim Wayne, handed over to law enforcement five boxes of documents labeled “Camden” along with a company laptop found in her rented Culver City townhouse following her disappearance; investigators have said that they’ve wondered how a woman making $145,000 annually could afford to rent such property. 

“In October 2021…we learned that Ms. Planck has gone missing [in a case that] may in fact be now a homicide investigation by the LAPD,” Brown said in the April hearing regarding the documents; a transcript of the hearing was posted to the docket in Sugarman’s case last week. “The disturbing thing for us was not only that Ms. Planck had disappeared, but that we had also learned that Mr. Sugarman had called Ms. Planck’s ex-husband demanding that Ms. Plank’s ex-husband enter the apartment and retrieval (sic) laptops which he claimed were his. And they also learned that Mr. Sugarman was filmed visiting her house after her disappearance.”

RELATED: Six Months Since Heidi Planck’s Disappearance And Questions Remain

Wayne, Planck’s ex-husband, told LAMag that he thinks Planck’s former boss could be connected to her disappearance. Meanwhile, Sugarman’s lawyer, David Zinn, said Wayne had no legal right to enter the townhouse or to remove anything from the premises. 

“He certainly didn’t have authority to take Mr. Sugarman’s or Mr. Camden’s materials,” Zinn said, adding that the government is in possession of what amounts to, “likely stolen documents. They should have been returned and they should never have been taken by the SEC.”

U.S. District Court Justice Gregory H. Woods did not rule on the argument.

“Given Ms. Planck is unfortunately missing,” he said, attorneys for Camden, rather than Sugarman’s criminal defense lawyer, should be incorporated into the argument over the documents Wayne gave to law enforcement—along with any other relevant materials Planck “had dominion over” at her rented storage unit. In the meantime, Sugarman’s attorneys and the SEC have agreed to a protective order for filings connected to the SEC’s ongoing case. 

The Culver City townhouse in question was listed as the company office of Camden Capital Partners, the firm owned by Sugarman that’s at the center of the seven-year SEC investigation into the alleged scam that prosecutors say he committed with a coterie of other Wall Street hucksters. This group includes Jason Galanis, an Angeleno whom Forbes once dubbed “Porn’s New King” thanks to his billing service for pornographic websites, and Devon Archer, who is Hunter Biden’s former business partner.  Sugarman is accused by federal officials of lining his pockets with $9 million from the alleged scheme. 

Galanis pleaded guilty to securities fraud and is currently serving 15 years in a minimum-security prison in San Pedro where his father, another Wall Street criminal, is also serving a sentence in a separate building. Both men are listed by the government in an SEC court filing as among the 120 witnesses who have “discoverable information” about Sugarman’s alleged role in the fraud. Archer was sentenced in February to 366 days in federal prison, ordered to forfeit $15,700,513 and to make restitution in the amount of $43,427,436, according to the Department of Justice. He is also listed as a witness in the Sugarman case to what the SEC calls the “scheme to misappropriate” bonds from the Wakpamni tribe. 

The SEC filing also lists Planck as a potential witness regarding “documents maintained by Sugarman and Camden Entities and the preservation thereof.” Guber’s daughter, Elizabeth, is also listed as an SEC witness, but under the heading of people with knowledge of “investors and potential investors” in companies created with pilfered monies.

Multiple emails sent to Sugarman went unreturned. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment. 

Planck’s disappearance has made national headlines since Oct. 17, when she attended her son’s football game but appeared “frantic,” as Wayne told LAMag. Later that night, she was captured on CCTV footage walking her labradoodle outside Hope+Flower, a tony downtown high-rise. Later that night, the dog was found wandering alone on the 28th floor of the building; Planck’s $90,000 Range Rover was recovered days later at a parking garage nearby. But there has been no sign of the missing mother since then.

Investigators explored the possibility that Planck—who according to divorce records after her separation from Wayne, a Beverly Hills hair stylist, struggled with addiction—overdosed at a party in the building and that her body was dumped. But an LAPD search of a Castaic landfill for her remains, which went on for weeks, turned up nothing. Planck and Wayne’s son is now living with him along with the dog.

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